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Festival time

June 06 2010
Get out there and enjoy the music, dance and drama on the streets
The streets are alive with festivals and gala days this summer, and here's our pick of those that readers might enjoy. Come rain or shine, these events bring music, dance and drama onto the streets of our towns and cites... and best of all, many of the events are free!

Leith Festival
11-20 June
Leithers have forever been proud of their distinctive identity and the festival celebrates all Leith has to offer - heritage, culture, diversity, future and people. And festival organizers are clear that this includes the local homeless people, "The Leith Festival whole heartedly believes in the values that come with the word community, and the homeless of Leith are no exception, and add to Leith's character," a spokesperson explained.

The 10-day programme features over 150 events in 50 venues within a mile radius from the heart of Leith. Highlights include:
• A traditional gala day and parade on 12 June, starting with the parade from Lochend Park. Leith Links will come alive with a full line-up of bands headlined by The Void, stalls and the annual tug-of-war competition.
• Artists' open studios - Coburg House Studios and Albion Road Business Centre open their doors for a free exhibition of artists' work, in addition to other arts and craft events throughout the festival.
• Film - The festival is pairing up with Leith Short Film Festival to offer some of the best contemporary shorts from across Scotland and the world. (10 & 11 June, Duncan Place Resource Centre, free). In addition, Word of Mouth Film Nights will be exhibiting some of the best local talent, or pop in to Sofi's or The Pond to enjoy the cinematic stylings of Leith's most celebrated writer, Irvine Welsh.

For more info visit the festival website or pick up a brochure from venues throughout Leith.

West End Festival
Glasgow, 7-27 June
Also in June is the West End Festival, Glasgow's biggest. Boasting almost 430 events across 50 venues in its fifteenth anniversary year, the festival presents an eclectic mix of music, theatre, dance, comedy, exhibitions and political debate, in a mix of free and ticketed events.

The festival has a clear community focus and aim to be accessible to all. A spokesperson explains, "The West End Festival is for everyone to enjoy. We are incredibly proud that so many of the events are free, which means that more people from across the city from all different backgrounds can enjoy many of the events.

Highlights include:
• Festival Sunday, Kelvingrove Park, 13 June - Five stages of live music and performances, including the Vintage Guru New Talent Stage, family activities, food and a licensed bar.
• Mardi Gras parade opening parade, 13 June - hundreds of bands, performers and community groups from across Scotland will bring life and colour to Kelvin Way with a theme of 'Myths and Legends' so expect to see dragons, unicorns, Nessies and more.
• La Fete de la Musique, Ashton Lane, Sat 19 June - part of an international day of musical performance, La Fete invites musicians of all genres / calibres to play for free. Expect choirs, jazz, indie, folk and lots more, performing in bars, cafes and on the lane.

For full programme details, visit the festival website.

Other festivals and events this summer...

O2 Glasgow Mela - 20 June, Kelvingrove Park
Edinburgh Mela - 6-8 August, Leith Links. Enjoy a curry in the park and celebrate Asian culture
The Big Day Oot - 13 June, Tollcross Park, Glasgow
Meadows Festival, Edinburgh - 5 & 6 June. Two live music stages, stalls and a funfair
Aberdeen International Youth Festival - 28 July - 7 August. The world's leading festival of youth arts.